Don't get me wrong: I like New Year's resolutions, and I like love that back-to-school feeling in the fall, when everything feels new and you're all energized about setting ~goals~ and making your life better...
But I absolutely love using summertime as a chance to hit pause, take stock of things, and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my year (and my life!).
Which is why when Reddit user 84-sheepdog recently asked, "What’s something small you can start doing today to better yourself?" the self-help obsessive in me came out and started taking copious notes. Here's some of the best tips people suggested for upgrading your life, one tiny change at a time:
1. Do your dishes before you go to bed!
"Waking up with a clean kitchen is a great feeling."
2. Give out compliments like they're free ('cause they are!!).
"Give someone else a compliment at least once a day. It's as simple as noticing the guy next to you has a stylish tie or that your coworker's homemade lunch looks tasty. Besides, it always seems to end up making someone's day and the effort required is so, so small."
3. You don't **have** to run a marathon, but you probably should move around more.
"Get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day — as simple as taking a walk."
4. Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
5. Look for a therapist — even if you don't need one right now, it's good to know how to find one when you end up needing to talk to someone!
"To finally start looking for a therapist. I know it sounds ridiculous but even working up the motivation to go online and search for one is hard. I keep telling myself I’ll do it and I’m perfectly capable of doing it and have the time to do it, but then I just don’t."
6. Read just a little every day...
"Read a book for at least 10 minutes a day ... Read fun things, read hard things, but never make your reading list an echo chamber. Challenge your mind and reward yourself with fun reads too. It'll grow your vocabulary, your ability to reason, and your worldview.
7. And use Goodreads to find new recommendations.
"Make a Goodreads account and log the books you’ve read and get recommendations for new books to read! While reading itself doesn’t make me a better person, I found that having a productive hobby like reading makes me a happier person (instead of just lying around and watching too much Netflix)."
8. Make a habit out of saving, and don't be afraid to start small.
9. Give that whole meditation thing a shot.
"Honestly, if you're anything like me, then meditating. Start every day with 10 minutes of meditation and it will help bundles in calming you down and allowing you to think rationally throughout the day."
10. Take care of that face!
"Put moisturizer with some SPF on your face. Yes, even in winter."
11. Consider kicking that soda habit, or replacing it with seltzer.
"I used to be addicted to soda, and drank an unhealthy amount. Now I just drink water all day, and occasionally have soda as a treat now and then. I feel a lot better and less groggy without all the soda."
12. Learn to play a stringed instrument.
13. Delete your social media accounts, or at least scale back on them.
"I can't get rid of Facebook because I'm in an organization that does 99% of its business on FB groups. But if someone is in the same situation as me, I would suggest being unrepentant about unfollowing people. Every time you see a post that makes you sad, anxious, jealous, or just makes you roll your eyes, unfollow that person. If you haven't talked to that person in more than a year, just flat unfriend them."
14. Check in on your stress level regularly.
"Are your shoulders tensed? Is your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth? Try to relax and find the cause of whatever is triggering your stress."
15. Up your 401(k) contribution just by 1%.
"You likely aren't going to miss 1%. But that 1% can be huge later on. Quick Google [search] says the median household salary in the US is $59,039. 1% of that, contributed monthly, assuming a 30-year average growth of 6%, yields:
For 1%, something you likely won't even notice, you could have an extra $50k in your retirement account, assuming you are 30 right now. If you are only 20, that number becomes $93,856.16.
1%, that's all. Increase it now, and let it grow."
16. Make that dang doctor's appointment!!
17. Write your grandparents a letter.
"They can hang onto it and reread it in a week or a month. It's tangible, and it exists. And if their mind is slipping like my grandpa, its easier to consume that form of media than an email or phone call.
It also allows him to formulate a response without struggling to find the words over the phone, which is painful for me to hear him that way, and I know it's frustrating for him to deal with the dwindling capacity of his vast wealth of knowledge and experience.
Just write them a letter by hand. Write about your day, your wants, your goals, your relationships, your job, a new toy you got, a new book or show you read or watched."
18. And tell your friends you love them!
"Telling your friends regularly that you love and value them. This may get lost in the comments but seriously, everyone deserves to be told they’re important. You never know if it could be the last time you speak to someone."
19. And finally, remind yourself that you're a good person.
"Tell yourself every day, and you'll end up believing it. Soon you'll end up acting it out, too."
OK, now go have a great (and soul-satisfying) summer, everyone!!
Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.